Letters to the editor

The greatest sedition is silence

Many of us are gravely concerned about the future of our beloved nation. We sense that our freedoms as guaranteed by the Bill of Rights have been eroded. We fear the specter of the Patriot Act and the threat of the Domestic Security Enhancement Act (also known as Patriot Act II) waiting in the wings for the next act of terror against our nation’s people. We fear that our cherished form of government, overtaken by a monopolistic oligarchy of, by and for the corporations and the extremely wealthy, may be at the point of no return.

It is important that we do not limit our horizons of thought to what we are allowed to experience through the media monopoly which comes to us through TV and other readily available sources.

There are other sources of information [that] we should allow ourselves to consider. One such source is William Rivers Pitt. Last October, Pitt published his first book, War on Iraq, a New York Times bestseller, which predicted exactly what happened in the spring of 2003. After teaching high school for many years, Pitt left his teaching post last May to write full time and has since become managing editor of Truthout (www.truthout.org).

In Pitt’s new book, The Greatest Sedition Is Silence: Four Years in America, he says, “Seeking answers and demanding truth is not treasonous. In these dangerous days, with all that is at stake, the greatest sedition in America is silence.”

Pitt is [now] on a tour of North Carolina. Making his last stop here in Asheville on Sunday, Sept. 28 at 11:15 a.m., he will address the Unitarian Universalist Church of Asheville, at the corner of Charlotte Street and Edwin Place.

Everyone is welcome to attend.

— Lew Patrie

Prescription-drug re-importation could save you a bundle

Paying too much for prescription drugs? Probably so if you’re buying them here in the United States.

Whether you’re fortunate enough to have health insurance or not, the fact is [that] the United States has the highest prescription-drug prices in the world.

Bernie Sanders, congressman from Vermont, introduced a bill in the House to allow the re-importation of prescription drugs (that were manufactured by U.S. pharmaceutical companies — same quality, same drugs) back into the United States, saving you 30 to 50 percent at point of purchase.

The current re-importation bill now only allows for the re-importation of prescription drugs; however, they can’t be sold at a lower cost to you, the customer. Drug companies in the United States realize annually $27 billion in profits, and $200 million of that goes directly into lobbyists’ pockets.

American taxpayers are funding the research and development of prescription drugs That’s right. American taxpayer moneys are spent on R&D at NIH (the National Institute of Health). Then the NIH turns around and gives all the data and varied compound information to drug companies free of charge — [information] that you, the American taxpayer, paid for.

The drug companies get to charge whatever they want. Interesting, isn’t it? If you ever purchase prescription drugs, perhaps it’s time to let your voices be heard regarding the re-importation bill.

Isn’t it time the citizens of the United States had access to affordable health care and prescription drugs … regardless of their age?

— F. Gray

A vote for Goree is a vote for veggie diesel

In a time when gray-headed politicians practically worship the gray areas of compromise, inertia and stasis, there issues a thunderbolt of clarity, resolve, innovation and laser-mindedness in the Libertarian candidate for City Council — Dave Goree.

“Energy Liberty,” the brain-child of Goree, would convert all city diesel vehicles and equipment to veggie diesel (diesels run on vegetable oil), which will improve Asheville’s air quality and save the taxpayers $400,000 every year, after conversion, which would take less than two years. Goree is working hard in the private sector to bring the alternative-and-renewable-fuels industry to fruition in WNC, which is now plagued with insane tax rates, over-regulation and unspeakable water rates.

Ehanol can also be produced from sugar crops such as sugar beet or corn, and can be used directly as fuel in spark-ignition engines; [it’s also] a needed part of bio-diesel ester production.

Do not let this year’s election turn into a shallow popularity contest. Let’s vote for good reality and someone who is intimately connected to the possibilities offered by reality. Vote Dave Goree for City Council.

— Charles Mathis

Fido may want to eat you, but don’t you eat him

The letter from Tom Graham [“The View From the Top of the Food Chain,” Xpress Sept. 3] regarding his argument in favor of meat consumption shows some common, erroneous ideas about the food chain, carnivores and herbivores.

Mr. Graham’s thinking seems to be [that] if animals could eat you, they would, with no guilt. This is supposed to apparently legitimize all manner of atrocities that are involved in the production of “food animals.”

Number one, since when do evolved people look to animals for standards of behavior?

Carnivores who kill in nature do so to survive. It is their instinct, and they lack the ability to make other choices, unlike humans.

Humans today can and should make other choices, not only because they’re available, but because such options are far healthier. Humans are not carnivores! They lack the right teeth, saliva, strong stomach acid and short intestinal tract that carnivores have for processing decaying flesh quickly. This is one of several reasons that flesh eaters have such high rates of colon and digestional tract cancers as compared to vegetarians. Meat eaters also have far higher rates of other chronic diseases, like heart disease, diabetes [and] numerous other cancers.

Humans are killing themselves and this planet with their food choices, which continue to cause the unprecedented extermination of billions of sentient beings, and thousands of species forever lost. Stop using religion and spurious ethics to justify the unjustifiable.

— Anne White

Dubya, Dean and the voting machine

Night after night, the “war on terror” is an inescapable news segment. Stories about al-Qaida, bin Laden and the dreaded terrorists who lurk in the shadows seem to invade our every waking moment. Yet we’ve become so complacent about this unsavory state of affairs that we passively swallow the horror show along with our dinners while watching the evening news.

Last night as I ate my beans and rice (Dubya’s tax cuts did nothing to improve my finances), I watched the president make yet another passionate speech. Defiantly, our “great” leader insisted he would not retreat. This morning, I watched an interview with revered New York Times political analyst Tom Friedman, who was asked to explain why terrorism exits.

Friedman explained that “young Muslims hate us more than they love life.” And why is that, the anchor implored [him]. “Because in their countries, there is mass unemployment and an extreme lack of resources.” Although Friedman reduced his theory to a succinct sound bite, his words ring true and enforce my continuing belief that heartfelt diplomacy would have been far superior to this trumped-up war.

By now, everyone knows (whether they are willing to admit it or not) that the alleged weapons of mass destruction don’t exist, and that the cache of toxic chemicals [is] nowhere to be found. Not a very compelling case for spending $4 billion a month keeping a military presence in Iraq. Certainly we could better use this money to repair our economy, especially since it was announced this week that the national debt has skyrocketed to an unfathomable $480 billion, and that the extra $100 billion or so that is predicted to be the cost for fighting this war was not even included in those numbers.

I don’t understand why more of us aren’t insisting that our elected officials take care of us first. What good will it do if Iraq prospers and America implodes? And where is the funding for the war coming from, anyway? The administration has refused to identify which agency’s assets are being plundered to help Bush save face.

While it’s true that Saddam is a bad guy (that’s what our illustrious Sen. Edwards wrote me when I complained about his stance on the war) and that genocide must be stopped, we drastically miscalculated the degree of the weapons threat, and now need to tuck our helmets between our legs and head home. Yes, it’s also true that Iraq is now in dire straights (thanks to us, mostly), but our presence is only escalating [Iraqi] resentment, and we are not improving their lives one iota.

Why did we stick our heads in the sand and allow our leaders to mach such horrible mistakes? We are in desperate need of intelligent leadership and the country needs a leader to unite the nation, a leader who uses his brain instead of his brawn to solve problems. Someone who knows how to stave off violence and to exhaust diplomacy before embarking on hostile military actions. Instead, we are “fighting for peace,” a bad oxymoron if there ever was one.

The only person who seems to have the knowledge to salvage our crisis and to possess the ethics to reverse the terrible political infighting is Howard Dean. When his detractors come at him, even from within his own party, he is gracious. And quite opposite from what the neo-conservative pundits would have you believe, Dean does, in fact, have a solid platform. He has experience reducing taxes, implementing health care and increasing educational funding. And he’ll get my vote.

A lot of people I know complain about the current political climate but have admitted that they don’t even vote. It is my understanding that in the last presidential election, only 33 percent of us registered voters went to the polls. The constitution guarantees its citizens will be heard, and if you are concerned about the chaos that is sweeping our country, I beg you to vote.

— Allison Frank

Seeking endorsements

If your group, club, team, company, music ensemble or other assembly has endorsed one or several candidates in the Asheville City Council race, please let us know here at Xpress. Call us at 251-1333, ext. 115.

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